Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, on Monday, October 11, said that Maria Ressa is automatically qualified to receive the “Senate Medal of Excellence” — the highest award given by the Senate, after winning the prestigious 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
“I congratulate Maria Ressa for winning the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. It is a recognition of her valuable contribution to safeguarding and upholding the freedom of the press, and to the fight for the truth amid this era of misinformation and fake news,” Drilon said.
“It is only fitting that the Senate bestows and confers the Senate Medal of Excellence to Maria Ressa for giving the country its first Nobel Prize since the award’s establishment in 1895,” he added.
Established last August, the “Senate Medal of Excellence” is given to Filipinos who have set the best example of excellence, nationalism, and virtue to their countrymen. Drilon stated that any Filipino who receives any major international awards from the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, the A.M. Turing Award, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, or an Olympic medal will be qualified to receive the Senate Medal of Excellence. Hence, deliberation is no longer needed and it can be put on the floor for voting.
Meanwhile, Drilon reiterated that he shared the committee’s citation of Ressa and Rappler, for giving critical attention to the controversial anti-drug campaign that resulted in thousands of deaths.
“Maria Ressa’s victory will inspire today’s journalists and the future generation of the press to be fearless in defending our freedom of expression and the freedom of the press and in holding those in power to account,” he ended.
Ressa is the first Filipino to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize along with Russian Journalist Dmitry Muratov.